This post has been inspired by recent conversations about relationships, by no means am I a relationship expert (nor would I EVER claim to be), but this test has proved to work in my own life and in the lives of people I love.
Some people have gotten married as a result of it and some people have broken up… So read at your own risk;)
Relationships can be incredibly confusing- and sometimes seem very complicated-
Should we keep dating?
Should I marry this person?
Are they right for me?
(Fill in the blank with your question here…)
Instead of asking the questions above- how would you answer the question:
Would I move to Idaho with this person?
Depending on how you answer that question will then most likely answer the previous questions…
This litmus test for relationships is not by any means my original theory or content- it comes from my best friend Rebecca Hedger (shout out!) who asked me that question about 6 years ago now, when I was in a very serious relationship where I was almost married. On paper this man was, and I am sure still is incredible. He blew every other guy out of the water on paper, and yet something in my heart wasn’t convinced.
I called my friend Rebecca, bawling one night confused, I didn’t know what to do.
She then asked me one question, that somehow cut through my chaos…
Would you move to Idaho with him?
I had no clue what she was talking about! “Rebecca what do you mean would I move to Idaho with him?!”
Rebecca: “Would you move to Idaho with him, does that sound fun to you?”
She then began to unpack what we now affectionately call the Idaho Litmus Test.
She then asked me, again “Would you want to move to a random, obscure town in Idaho with this person?”
At first I thought she was crazy, but then it made perfect sense…
She began to explain…
When you take away that person’s ministry position, or their job status, or the friend group they are a part of, or the cool city where you go on expensive dates, or when you take away all of the props (fill in your prop here)
Do you still want to be with raw them?
Is raw you and raw them a good idea?
You have to drive 20 hours to get to Idaho- just you and this person, is the road trip fun? are you talking? Do you have things to talk about? Are you laughing? or are you bored?
Do you connect in a deep way spiritually and emotionally or are the entertaining dates, concerts, or activities propping you up?
Would the idea of having to restart somewhere without your friends or family as a support system still be enjoyable because you love being with that person for who they are that much?
We all probably have gotten into relationships for the wrong reasons at times, but the Idaho Litmus Test cuts through the fluff and the superficial reasons we may be in them.
Now does it have to be Idaho where you think about moving? No, we just used Idaho because it’s kind of that state no one talks about, and it doesn’t seem that exciting (sorry if you love Idaho) You can fill in the blank of any random place instead of Idaho…
Maybe Northwest Territories in Canada (brrrr) or a small town in the Himalayas, or a hut in Africa…
The bottom line is this- when all of the familiar is removed, do you still want to be with and love this person truly for who they ARE, and not for any other reason?
When everything external is removed, does love remain?
The Idaho litmus test took on new meaning when recently I drove through Idaho for the first time!
It was so cold, there wasn’t a ton happening- but you could buy a house for $18,000! (Redemptive)
Let’s just say it wouldn’t be my first pick of places to live!:)
Of course this is somewhat comical, but trust me a simple question like, “Would you want to move to Idaho with this person?” Could reveal more of what’s really in your heart than you expected!
I know it did for me… and my simple No, to that question changed the way my life went from that moment on.
Is this over simplistic? Probably, but I think it’s a good place to start!
After you have asked yourself this question, then go to the next level and read Tim Keller’s book Meaning of Marriage. It will pop any bubbles you may be living in from being discipled by Disney (like I was) You can thank me later!:)